Here’s another Italian recipe I butchered. Cioppino is a traditional Italian stew using the catch of the day and I used all the seafood I “caught” from the sea-permarket (ha!) except for fish because my mother is allergic; otherwise I would choose monkfish fillets to have something very meaty and tender. The clams and mussels are perfectly cooked here, but that also means they didn’t get enough time in the hot broth, so I think clam juice in a can is an absolute necessity. If your eaters are not fussy, using shrimp with their heads on can add more natural flavor to the soup. I also decided to skip the pasta in my version and opted to serve it with a few slices of toasted baguette.
1 lb squid, cleaned, sliced in small rings
1/2 lb shrimp, heads on, sprinkled with salt and pepper
12 littleneck clams
12 mussels, bearded
1 cup white wine
1 medium can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of clam juice
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped
a few pieces basil leaves, chiffonade
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt, pepper, oil
1 small baguette, sliced, toasted
1. In a large Dutch oven, heat some oil. Cook the shrimp for 3 minutes. Remove to a large bowl.
2. In the same pot, sauté garlic with red pepper flakes until golden brown. Add white wine and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer in low fire.
3. Add clams and cover. Simmer for 3 minutes. Clams are cooked when they are open. Discard those that didn’t open. Remove to a large bowl. Add mussels to the pot and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes. Mussels are also cooked when they are open. Discard those that didn’t. Remove to the same bowl with the clams.
4. Add clam juice, tomatoes and 3 cups of water to the pot with all the seafood and wine flavor. Let simmer for about 20 minutes while occasionally stirring. Add squid and cook for 2 minutes. Add back the shrimp, clams and mussels and carefully toss together with the tomato broth. Remove from heat. The squid will finish cooking in the remaining heat. Ladle in big open bowls and serve with toasted baguette.